I popped my head, finally, into Brick & Beam on Queen Street this week. Leicester’s newest bar still feels like a little bit of a best-kept secret, although I’d been expecting good things having heard a lot of compliments from several reliable local sources.
I was welcomed to the bar, just around the corner from the Curve theatre, by its striking contemporary urban look. Brick & Beam is a fantastic name, giving the evocation of the harnessing of the Cultural Quarter‘s manufacturing history a luxurious and well thought out finish. The space consists of a 150 capacity venue on the first floor, fully equipped with a bar and integrated audio system. The second floor has the public bar space, which transforms from light and airy in the early evening to subtly atmospheric and quite desperately cool at night.
Every detail has been carefully thought out, and the combination of colour, texture and form really struck me. Along with this you have a friendly, professional bar staff who are working hard on creating innovative and interesting cocktails.
I tried a vodka based cocktail, which combined a shot of bubblegum, with lemon & lime – garnished with an actual bubblegum and the rim of the glass dusted in popping candy. Pretty much ticked all the boxes for this child of the 80s, but also was presented surprisingly elegantly – this is no comedy sweet shop drink, this is a serious, adult interpretation creating a well balanced and neat concept.
Alongside the first second floor bar is a terrace, which looks likely to be a suntrap in the summer evenings, and next to this there is a conservatory, fitted out to the same high standards as the main bar, which is part of the public bar, but can also be hired out for private events for smaller groups. I have heard tell of exciting future plans for these spaces – barbeque cook-outs and live music in the summer, a cigar club and more.
It’s a place I want to be. It’s very much cliche now to say that you are ‘transported away’ when you enter a venue, but Brick & Beam really does give that impression. It’s not quite something I can put my finger on but it does take you away from the streets of Leicester and make you feel like you are experiencing something quite different to what we have seen before. Fans of retro ephemera will enjoy the subtle, but ubiquitous touches around the bar, which cleverly evoke both the heritage of the building as well as the photography obsession of the bar’s founders.
I’m also excited to hear that an ‘urban tapas’ menu is on thecards, along with an afternoon tea with a difference, so I can imagine that as this venue grows we will see a lot more that takes us away from the everyday – a place to relax, a place to party, a place to be seen.